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New York TeacherOctober 5, 2017

Volume LIX , Issue 2
NYT Cover: Beware. Vote no on Constitutional Convention

Cover Stories

Money (generic)

Second lump-sum payment coming this month

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Because you have a union that fights for you, eligible members are entitled to be compensated for the two 4 percent raises that former Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave to members of some municipal unions in 2009 and 2010 but refused to give to public school educators and other city employees at the time.

When Bill de Blasio became mayor, he agreed to pay the money owed but said the city could not afford to pay it all at one time, so the UFT negotiated a contract that ensures UFT members will be made whole by 2020.

In accordance with that 2014 contract, UFT members on payroll who worked for the Department of Education between 2009 and 2017 will receive a lump-sum payment of 12.5 percent in October, representing one-seventh of the amount they have accrued between 2009 and 2017. That payment, which will be added to a regularly scheduled paycheck, is the second of five lump-sum payments between 2015 and 2020. (UFT members received the first payment of 12.5 percent of money owed in 2015.)

Think of it as a savings account. If you have been continually employed, you have been depositing money in this account since Nov. 1, 2009. This October, you‘ll make your second withdrawal.

Vote No on Constitutional Convention

Are you a constitutional convention expert?

The Nov. 7 ballot will ask New York voters if the state should hold a convention to rewrite its constitution. Take this quiz and test your knowledge about Proposal #1.

Bronx speech teacher Brooke Shmuel was helped by the UFT Certification Departmen

UFT helps nearly 7,000 avoid termination

Staff at the UFT Certification Department helps members navigate the certification process and rescues applications that are endangered because of bureaucratic oversights and other reasons.

Latest News

A sign welcomes students back to school at PS 88 in Ridgewood.

Looking classy!

As the 2017 school year got under way on Sept. 7, schoolyards and hallways were filled with tears and cheers, questions and answers, hopes and dreams.

Retirees ride in an open-top bus.

Labor stands tall

As threats to workers’ rights multiply at the state and federal level, about 600 UFT members marched in the annual Labor Day Parade on Sept. 10 to show their support for the labor movement.

Lawsuit, arbitration

Illinois confronts aid inequity

A new school funding formula in Illinois, signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner in August, is being hailed as a historic first step toward making sure more state dollars go to the public schools that need it the most.

Public support for unions reaches a decade high

Public support for labor unions has reached its highest level in a decade, with 61 percent of U.S. adults expressing approval for unions, according to a Gallup Poll released on Labor Day.

Parents overwhelmingly approve of public schools

Public school parents overwhelmingly approve of the education their children receive, with 75 percent deeming that education either good or excellent, according to a nationwide poll conducted by Hart Research Associates for the American Federation of Teachers.

Feature Stories

Larissa Loua, 2nd-grade ICT teacher

Three educators, one opening day

Meet the educators

Allison Brown, community school director Community Learning Schools

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Allison Brown’s job is to help coordinate the school’s access to resources and partnerships that address our students’ needs. She got the ball rolling on opening day.

Read more

Steve Burrell, school counselor and chapter leader PROSE

Larissa Loua, 2nd-grade ICT teacher

Larissa Loua, 2nd-grade ICT teacher

It was Larissa Loua’s first year in an integrated co-teaching classroom. On opening day, she led a restorative circle to help her students build community and learn how to trust each other — key elements of a Positive Learning Collaborative school.

Allison Brown, community school director

Allison Brown, community school director

Allison Brown’s job is to help coordinate the school’s access to resources and partnerships that address our students’ needs. She got the ball rolling on opening day.

Member Spotlight

Chapter Leader Shoutout

Kudos to Andrea Frederick-Marsh, PS 140, the Bronx

PS 140 Chapter Leader Andrea Frederick-Marsh’s creation of the first consultation committee at her school in the Longwood section of the Bronx has quickly paid off in a stronger, better-informed chapter that is able to head off problems before they mushroom into grievances.

Around the UFT

Around the UFT

West Indian Day Parade

UFT members joined the colorful march through Crown Heights, Brooklyn, on Sept. 4 as an estimated 2 million spectators turned out for the 50th annual West Indian Day Parade to celebrate Caribbean culture.

You Should Know

You Should Know

Paras cannot be required to supervise lunchrooms

Paraprofessionals, including one-on-one paras, are entitled to a duty-free lunch period.

You Should Know

Phone lines open for Dial-A-Teacher

The staff at Dial-A-Teacher, the UFT’s long-running homework help line, bring help and encouragement to students and parents struggling with homework assignments from 4 to 7 p.m. every Monday to Thursday when school is in session.

You Should Know

UFT Welcome Center opens at 52 Broadway

When UFT members arrive at union headquarters, the union wants them to feel welcome and wants them to receive top-notch service from their first interaction with the UFT. That’s why the UFT opened a Welcome Center in the lobby of 52 Broadway on Sept. 5.

Secure Your Future

Don’t fall for the lies

On the proposal on the constitutional convention on the Nov. 7 ballot, we’re asking you to vote NO.

Your Well-being

Stressed caregivers

Are you a caregiver? Has the responsibility become overwhelming? Here are some coping strategies that can help.



On the front line of patient care

Advocating on behalf of its members, Federation of Nurses/UFT has been able to modify the patient-care surveys to reflect real work situations.

President's Perspective

Why your NO vote on Nov. 7 matters

A proposal rife with consequences for UFT members and their families is on the ballot on Nov. 7: whether or not to hold a constitutional convention in the state of New York. You must vote NO and tell your friends, family members and colleagues to do the same. 


United for DREAMers

These are anxious times for young people enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that gave 800,000 immigrant youths temporary resident status and protection from deportation.

Certified victories

When most people think about the job security that comes with union membership, the first thing that comes to mind is protection of due process rights — making sure teachers get a fair hearing if they are threatened with losing their job for any reason.


Astrowsky will be missed

Bob Astrowsky, who died on Sept. 3, was a specially gifted union leader. The UFT will miss him. He was one of a kind — a dedicated unionist who had the great skills and talent to relate in a friendly and compassionate way with all people.

Convention question hidden on ballot

It has come to my attention that the referendum question on the constitutional convention will be printed on the back of the ballot. This is an egregious insult to democracy.


The good fight

Today’s teachers must be smart, creative and resourceful.

Teaching Resources

Learning Curve

When Nest is best

The ASD Nest model is designed to “nest” children with autism in fully inclusive classrooms.

Research shows

Charters spend less on teachers

A national analysis of school staff expenditures finds that charter schools spend less on average per pupil on instructional salaries compared to public schools, and for-profit charters spend less than nonprofits.

Teacher to Teacher

Strengthening PD at your school

Here are some ideas for strengthening the professional learning community at your school.

Building Your Career

New Teachers

An observation center filled with treasures

Our observation center is filled with treasures from around the world.
New Teachers

The UFT is here to provide wide-ranging support

The UFT is here to protect the rights of new teachers and support them in their new careers. Whether you have a specific issue you need help resolving or you’re seeking broader support, the UFT is here to help.

Retired Teachers News


Since 1988, retirees have had the right to defer distribution of their Tax Deferred Annuity (TDA) money when they retire. To help you understand the choices you may make, we are offering the workshops listed below. All meetings are 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. except Southern New Jersey, which is 10:30 a.m.–noon, and Staten Island, which is 12:30–2:30 p.m. No fee. You must register for the workshop you would like to attend.

BRONX: XF 801 Wednesday, Oct. 25, Bronx Learning Center, 2500 Halsey St.

BROOKLYN: KF 801 Tuesday, Oct. 31, Brooklyn Learning Center, 335 Adams St., 24th Floor.

MANHATTAN: MF 801 Monday, Oct. 30, UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th Floor, Rooms D/E.